Daytona 500: Johnny Benson Saturday practice report

Valvoline -- Ince - "Restrictor plate will be the great equalizer" ...

Valvoline -- Ince - "Restrictor plate will be the great equalizer"

#10 Valvoline Pontiac Driver Johnny Benson was the 31st fastest of the 49 cars practicing Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Tomorrow each of the cars will qualify to determine the order for Thursday's Twin 125-mile races. The finishing order in Thursday's race determines most of the positions for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16.

Johnny Benson On Saturday's Practice:

"We thought we were going to come down here and at least back up what we did in testing but we are about two-tenths off. We just have to get through the qualifying tomorrow and then start racing on Thursday. I think nowadays you want to do well on Saturday and Thursday, but if we have to give up one it would be tomorrow. Thursday determines where we will start the Daytona 500 so that's when you really want to be at your best. That's typical Daytona. It's always full of surprises but we will deal with them. The 500 is what we are aiming for. That's what everyone remembers. We think this car will race good, but it has never been drafting or in traffic so we don't know what to expect. We think it will be good in race trim."

#10 Valvoline Pontiac Crew Chief James Ince:

Saturday Practice:

"Naturally, the Valvoline team is pretty disappointed in our practice speed. But before we came down here we decided to look at the big picture and concentrate on the race so we brought us a car we thought would race well. Our goal is to leave here with that car sitting over at Daytona USA. We'd like to sit on poles, but the important thing is on race day. That's when they pay the money and give the points. The first day wasn't what we wanted it to be but we know it can get better."

Thoughts On Sunday Qualifying:

"I don't know. Right now we are frustrated because we haven't run the speeds that we did in testing. But you don't know where everyone else is either. When we roll through that (inspection) room the restrictor plate will be the great equalizer. We have picked up before and we have slowed down. We are still going to sleep good tonight, not knowing what tomorrow will bring, but we will do everything we can do."

Does Your Qualifying Spot Matter Tomorrow?:

"It doesn't really matter. In the past, qualifying didn't matter because you didn't have a pit stop in the 125s. Now that we will have pit stops it would be nice to have as good of a pit stall as possible. But if you got a good car you can drive up through the field. That's what we plan to do."

-mbvm-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson